Interviews By Topic

Wheelchair

Writer Haddayr Copley-Woods says she's been trying to figure out how to deal with unsolicited help since she was first diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. For the helpers, it’s a nice thing to do. For her, it’s patronizing.More

gift giving

Is it actually possible to give a truly selfless gift? Anthropologist David Graeber says it's not only impossible, the entire concept of a "free gift" is a capitalist construct shaped by impersonal market economies.More

Heart Wall

Writer Alice Walker has been thinking about how anger co-exists with peace. She spoke with Shannon Henry Kleiber about her new book of poems, “Taking the Arrow Out of the Heart,” and how she works on healing herself when she’s been hurt by others.More

"Gilead" by Marilynne Robinson

Human rights attorney Bryan Stevenson works to challenge excessive punishment and mass incarceration, and wrote a book about his experiences called "Just Mercy." He recommends a novel that reminds us of the importance of compassion, mercy, and connection with others in our lives — values that he feels we lack when it comes to considering our criminal justice system.
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Kambui Olujimi: The Drop, from the series InDecisive Moments, 2017. Glass, approx. 30 x 20 x 20 inches. Courtesy the artist.

It’s hard to wrap your head around climate change. How do you really take in the concept of planetary change over decades or even centuries? Visual artist Kambui Olujimi explores different ideas about time in his one-man show “Zulu Time.”More

earth

Historian Iain McCalman’s Dangerous Idea? The Anthropocene — the idea that humans have fundamentally changed our global climate. It’s scary, but we’re also seeing people come together in unprecedented ways to solve planetary problems.More

Crossing the plains of the Gnostic Gospels

The religion scholar Elaine Pagels introduced the world to the ancient Gnostic Gospels. 25 years later, she's finally ready to talk about how her own grief — after the deaths of her young son and husband — shaped her religious imagination.More

Resevoir

We've heard plenty about micro-dosing with LSD — in articles, books, even on this show. But psychiatrist Anna Fels has a new micro-dosing proposal. Not with a drug – with lithium.
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Mind/body

Remember debating the mind-body duality in college? You probably argued the meaning of Descartes’ adage “I think, therefore I am” in your dorm. Maybe you even delved into the idea of what is consciousness. But for Lauren Slater, author of “Prozac Diary,” the mind-body argument isn’t just a debate or an intellectual pursuit.More

Doors across borders.

The Pakistani novelist Mohsin Hamid sets his newest novel, "Exit West," in a world of permanent mass migration, in a city ripped apart by civil war. He told Steve Paulson he modeled it on his own city — Lahore, Pakistan.More

Lady Liberty

Historian Carol Anderson walks us through the timeline of truly free and fair elections in the United States, a period she says lasted from the passage of the Voting Rights Act in 1965 until a fateful Supreme Court decision in 2013.More

Voting Day

Could we make our elections more secure, more inclusive, or just more fun? Depends on who you ask, and we asked a lot of people.More

"We Have Always Lived in the Castle" By Shirley Jackson (Penguin Classics)

Laurence Jackson Hyman, son of the famed horror author Shirley Jackson, recommends her 1962 classic tale for its scares, suspense, and strangeness. More

A house in Savannah, Georgia — one of America's most haunted cities.

The Sorrel-Weed House has been called the “most haunted house” in Savannah, Georgia, and its “ghost tour” is a big tourist attraction. But historian Tiya Miles found another story of slavery and racial stereotypes buried in this history.More

"Disappearance at Devil's Rock" by Paul Tremblay

The horror and fantasy novelist recommends a chilling pair of ghost stories from Paul Tremblay that flip genre conventions on their head. More

Ghosts

Steve Paulson's family has lots of stories of the paranormal, but Steve is the family skeptic. So he did his own investigation, talking with skeptic Michael Shermer, religion scholars Tanya Luhrmann and Jeff Kripal, channeler Paul Selig, and his Aunt Marge Bradley.More

Math of the universe

On October 10, Steve spoke with physicist S. James Gates, Jr. and science writer Margaret Wertheim about the universal language of the universe: math. Can we see the hidden order of the natural world by studying the equations that govern it? And can we see true beauty in numbers?More

"Skin" by Kathe Koja

Citing the book's enormous influence on her own work, novelist Gemma Files recommends Kathe Koja’s horror story set against the backdrop of 1990s counterculture scenes of art, body modification and underground music.More

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